The Essential + La FĂȘte swap places in Mercantile on Morris [PHOTOS]

The Essential
The Essential on 1st Avenue North (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

It’s the swap we’ve all been waiting for (but never expected). This week the “switch-a-roo” between two establishments—The Essential and La FĂȘte—began today with the opening of The Essential at La FĂȘte’s old spot on 1st Avenue North.

After a little remodeling, La FĂȘte will launch at The Essential’s previous home in a few weeks. 

The Essential and La FĂȘte’s trading places

The Essential
The Essential on 1st Avenue North(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

As reported by Bham Now, The Essential and La FĂȘte co-owners Kristen Hall and Victor King announced the two establishments would be trading places in August.


In a nutshell, The Essential’s quaint spot on Morris Ave was exactly what they envisioned for La FĂȘte. Additionally, La FĂȘte’s large kitchen and dining room was exactly what they needed for The Essential.


“The Essential over on Morris is a beautiful space,” Hall told Bham Now. “I designed that space so I have a very, very large piece of my heart in there. I’m glad we don’t have to say goodbye to that space—we get to reimagine it as La FĂȘte.” 

The need for a bigger kitchen

The Essential
The Essential on 1st Avenue North(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

According to Hall, The Essential needed a bigger kitchen. 

“At about 200 square feet. It was very challenging to work in that space. As The Essential has grown—which has been a wonderful experience—it’s put a lot of pressure on that 200 square feet kitchen.”

Despite the change, Hall is confident The Essential—which has been featured in national publications such as the Washington Post—has found the right home.

Feeling Essential

“The ceilings are really tall and the windows are fun because these windows face north providing us magical light inside. It feels very Essential,” Hall concluded.

Stay tuned

Stay tuned for the reopening of La FĂȘte in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, check out The Essential’s new digs and if it is a little busy, visit Bandit next door, which is also owned by Hall and King.

What do you think about the swap? Tag us @bhamnow and let us know!

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2252